FKT: Patrick Donovan - North South Trail (RI) - 1999-05-01

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
19h 0m 0s

I ran the N-S Trail solo in May of 1999, north to south. My wife drove me up to Buck Hill @ 3AM, and I walked up to the Mass. line, starting south about 4 AM. I had reconnoitered various sections of the trail up in the northern half of the state, and lived in Wakefield RI, so had frequently run sections in the south. She met me in Rice City and down at Rte. 138 with gallon jugs of water to sluice myself off with and lots of ice cold Pepsi. Fig Newtons were my primary fuel. Fran met me again and picked me up to drive me home at 11PM at Blue Shutters Beach. So call it 19 hours overall - the first time I know of that anyone ran the whole thing. All the times I ran different parts of the Trail I almost never saw another person.

At the time I was 52, and wasn't looking for speed, just a long, satisfying day in the woods. That was before the guidebook to the N-S Trail came out, and I was relying on a multi-page copy of a map that I think I'd downloaded from the net. I didn't even try to run the first few miles south from the Mass. line back to Buck Hill Rd. Unless they've changed or groomed the route, running it in the dark would have meant a broken leg for sure. I went up to the George Washington Management Area ahead of time, being totally unfamiliar with the northern half of the Trail, to try to figure out the unblazed sections. Even so, on the day of the run I got turned around up there, but am sure I covered at least the attributed total mileage. Maybe they still exist: the huge beaver dam near Snake Hill Rd., the llama farm a little farther south, the boulder field in Arcadia Park. And you wouldn't believe the mileage you can get from Fig Newtons!